Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Romans 11: 1315, 29-32
For peace in our country to end hatred, anger , nd violence; we pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
For our hurts to be healed, from what holds us back from loving as God wants us; we pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer. We are going to say the Prayers of the faithful in a bit, but do we believe that peace is possible, even when such display of hatred was shown in our country last weekend? Do we believe that all of our hurts will be healed? We heard the story of a woman who in her prayer believed that all things are possible and her daughter was healed by Jesus. This woman followed a very ancient formula of prayer that still works for us today. This woman knew she was broken, she moved with great urgency to the Lord, she had hope beyond hope, and she lived in faith. Today we need to model her faith and come to know what she knew.
In our Gospel, a Canaanite woman comes to Jesus; she knows she is broken as she says, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” Jesus does not respond, and the disciples want her to go away. An important fact here for us is Jesus does not go away! We too come broken, and in need of God’s healing, we are always working on being made whole.
The woman continues with great urgency as now she says, “Lord, help me!” Jesus responds with “It is not right to take food and give it to dogs.” Wow! That is harsh! What we need to see here is that we are always the one who needs a sense of urgency in our spiritual lives, it is never on the part of God. We can get hung up on this point when something bad happens in our lives. When we begin to ask, “Lord, where were you? Why did you let this happen?” These are not questions of faith; these are questions of God’s identity. God does not have to answer these kinds of questions. It is better to understand bad things happen; we are not excused from pain and suffering. We should be asking, “Lord, where are you leading me now?”
The woman expresses great hope as she responds, “Even dogs eat the scraps from the table.” This woman could have grumbled, and stomped her feet, but grumbling gets us nowhere, only frustrated. Jesus heals her daughter based on the fact that she believed in who she was speaking to, the savior of the world. Hope means we are part of the solution.
Jesus is not expecting such faith from someone who is not a Jew. What this woman reveals to us, is her prayer was an authentic Christ-centered faith. Do we as a community possess a true faith that in our brokenness we come to the Lord in great urgency? We come as people in prayer with great hope, because we want to the people part of the solution, not part of the problem. We want to be the people when we gather in this Eucharist as God’s people, that this is our finest hour. In the transformation of simple bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, may we also be transformed into Christ.